The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution is a segment in the Bill of Rights “that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.” Usually, police have to go through the courts to obtain a warrant to search somebody’s home. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court may change the notion of police needing a warrant to search your home.
In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court that police may enter a home without a warrant as long as one of the occupants of the home allows them in. The majority ruled that police do not need to take the time to obtain warrants to search homes. Those opposed saw the measure as an assault on Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.
The ruling of the Supreme Curt was influenced by a case involving the infamous LAPD. In this case, officers were in pursuit of Walter Fernandez, whom they suspected was involved in a street robbery. A foot chase ensued and Hernandez ran into an apartment building. He entered a unit belonging to his girlfriend. As police knocked asking to come in, Fernandez yelled at them that they needed a warrant to come into the apartment. Fernandez was arrested and led away. The police returned and Hernandez’s girlfriend allowed them to search the apartment. They found a shotgun and gang paraphernalia.
About the case and the ruling, Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. stated, “A warrantless consent search is reasonable and thus consistent with the 4th Amendment irrespective of the availability of a warrant. Even with modern technological advances, the warrant procedure imposes burdens on the officers who wish to search [and] the magistrate who must review the warrant application.”
For more on the ruling, click here.